‘Wicked’ woman stole from OAPs savings

Tracey Cullen at a party when she was still a family friend.
Tracey Cullen at a party when she was still a family friend.
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A WOMAN branded ‘wicked’ has been locked up at last - for stealing more than £10,000 from Doncaster pensioners and spending the cash on luxury holidays.

But the family of one of her victims - who was so badly affected she has moved into a care home - say she should have been jailed for much longer.

Judge Alan Goldsack QC told heartless Tracey Cullen it was ‘surprising no court has ever locked you up before’.

The 40-year-old has 29 previous convictions, many for deception and stealing from her employers.

“You are a thoroughly dishonest woman,” said Judge Goldsack, as he jailed Cullen for 22 months at Sheffield Crown Court.

“Wicked is a word that should be used sparingly in the courts. You are in my judgement a wicked woman - there is only one form of punishment and that is prison.”

Carl Fitch, prosecuting, said Cullen’s most serious theft was committed against 79-year-old Elizabeth Andrew, whom she had befriended.

Cullen, a beautician, of Aylesbury Road, Intake, Doncaster, was a family friend and had offered to do Mrs Andrew’s shopping. She was given her bank card and PIN number - then stole £4,208 from her bank account.

She spent the money on a Caribbean cruise for herself and her partner.

The theft was discovered when Mrs Andrew had to go into hospital and asked for her bank card back.

In a victim impact statement Mrs Andrew, who used to live in Queensberry Road, Intake, but now resides in a home, said: “Tracey was my friend and betrayed my trust which we had built up over the past few years.”

Mrs Andrew’s daughter, Denise Smithey, who also lives in Intake, said yesterday: “She didn’t get long enough. We were hoping for eight years because of all the trouble she’s caused for my mum and us.

“Before this mum was in good health but because of this she gave up walking and eating and lost the will to live.

“She has lost about eight stone and needed rehabilitation.”

Denise, aged 49, and her partner, Barry Spencer, say Mrs Andrew has lost most of the £20,000 remaining from the sale of her home and they are still trying to get it back from her bank.

“Cullen was my friend and I introduced her to mum so I feel a lot of guilt about what has happened. She knew mum had got a lot of savings and decided to get her hands on it. It has had a really serious effect on the family.

“Mum is pleased she’s gone to prison. Cullen is the most cruel-hearted person you could meet.”

While on bail for the theft, Cullen offered to buy car insurance online for a second victim called Miss Dundas, who was disabled, Mr Fitch said.

Miss Dundas gave Cullen £850 to pay for the policy - but instead of buying insurance, she spent the cash.

When Miss Dundas and a friend confronted Cullen, demanding to see the policy document, the beautician stole a credit card from a client’s handbag and used it to buy the car insurance.

Mr Fitch said Cullen also befriended another pensioner - an 86-year-old from Wheatley.

The pensioner was out when Cullen and an accomplice offered to help her with her shopping. Cullen stole her bank details from her handbag, then insisted on taking her home so she could find out her victim’s address.

She used the old woman’s bank details to buy a £760 family holiday to Disneyland Paris with her partner and two children.

Mr Fitch said Cullen also advertised a digital camera for sale on the website Gumtree - and took an £800 payment for it but never sent out the goods.

Cullen, who pleaded guilty to all the offences, also asked for eight similar offences to be taken into consideration.

The court heard she had seven convictions for 29 offences including deception and theft from her employer, dating back to 1996.

Edward Moss, defending, said Cullen didn’t know why she had gone on her ‘spree’ but was remorseful and accepted responsibility.